How to Motivate Employees: 12 Effective Ways to Boost Morale

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employee motivation is an important element in almost any industry as it helps organisations achieve their business goals. Motivated and engaged employees are also usually more productive, and organisations can use a variety of strategies and adopt practices that can help boost employee motivation. If you're a manager or team leader, learning more about ways to motivate your colleagues may help you create a positive and productive work environment. In this article, we discuss how to motivate employees and boost their morale.

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How to motivate employees

Here are some strategies showing how to motivate employees:

1. Create a pleasant work environment

A work environment that is appealing, comfortable and welcoming can improve employee satisfaction and motivation levels. An excellent way of motivating your team members is to create a pleasant and friendly environment they enjoy. Considering how much time they spend at work and away from home, it's essential investing in comfortable furniture and equipment. Here are some ways in which you can create a pleasant working environment for your team members:

  • Provide comfortable office equipment. Supply your colleagues with ergonomic office equipment, such as adjustable standing desks and different types of chairs to suit their individual needs.

  • Temperature control. Ensure that the workspace has proper heating, cooling and good ventilation.

  • Make the most of natural light. Exposure to natural light while working can improve productivity. Design your office in a way that all employees get access to natural light.

  • Add plants. Some greenery and flowers can make the office look better and may also help reduce stress.

  • Open the space up. Add collaboration spaces for the team to interact, discuss and collaborate seamlessly.

2. Build a positive workplace culture

Inspire and engage your team by building a workplace culture that's positive and supportive. Be enthusiastic about the team's goals and your work, which can also contribute to their motivation. You can create a positive culture by encouraging employees to help each other, ensuring transparent communication, conducting team activities and facilitating non-work-related bonding activities. A positive work culture can also help employees become more creative, innovative and loyal.

Related: What Is a Good Work Environment? (Plus Other FAQs)

3. Acknowledge and reward achievements

It's human nature to seek acknowledgement and validation for your hard work, effort and achievements. It means a lot to employees when you give them positive feedback, and it can have more impact if you do this during a team meeting. You can set up a fortnightly or monthly meeting to share feedback with your team members and appreciate their successes.

If possible, reward employees who excel at their work with appropriate incentives. Rewards can be financial in nature, like an additional bonus. They can also be non-financial, like simply giving them a day off or taking them out for a team lunch with the senior leadership. Make your rewards and appreciation sincere to ensure that employees feel valued. You can also include performance-driven rewards in your performance management models and policies.

Related: Extrinsic Motivation Examples (Definition and Importance)

4. Build mutual trust

Trust is an important workplace value and building trust can be vital to having a motivated and focused team of employees. Employees might respond better when they know that you genuinely trust them to do their job. So, be sure to tell them that you trust their abilities and acknowledge that their work contributes to the team's success and your success as a manager. Once they experience your sincerity, a mutually trusting relationship may develop, and this can motivate them to work hard.

Related: What Is Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation? (With Examples)

5. Ensure timely and open communication

Positive and clear communication can be vital for any organisation to be successful. Even though communication is an everyday activity, it takes some planning and effort to do it well. Set aside time each day to speak to your team about work processes, client feedback, concerns and new ideas. This can help you gain your team members' trust. Additionally, you can resolve conflicts, identify potential challenges and solve issues by communicating regularly with your team. Timely, honest, and sincere communication is an excellent way to motivate staff and help you learn more about your team members.

Related: How to Improve Communication Skills (With Definition and Examples)

6. Increase transparency

When considering how to motivate employees, remember that people value qualities like honesty and transparency. People expect transparency from the company on any developments and challenges, particularly if they impact job security. By being honest with your team members, you can increase trust, loyalty and motivation. Conduct frequent discussions with your team to share news, address concerns and answer questions to the best of your ability. By engaging your colleagues in this manner, you can make them feel included in the significant organisational developments and cultivate a sense of ownership in them.

7. Get feedback from your team members

One of the easiest ways to motivate and engage employees is to gather their feedback on company policies, culture and processes. By making these responses anonymous, you can expect employees to be more honest in their feedback and assessment. Since employees might have different motivations and priorities, this exercise can help you identify potential workplace issues and find innovative solutions.

You can conduct a survey to see what motivates them. Discuss the results in meetings and collect more feedback on how to solve the challenges you have identified. Try to identify some common themes and make changes to your policies and culture to address them. Also, identify any organisational policies or traditions that may have stifled motivation. By listening to your team members directly, you may arrive at a suitable solution and find ways to support them in their work.

8. Help your team members understand their purpose

While people can have different reasons and motivations for going to work, earning an income and finding satisfaction in applying their skills are usually among the top motivators for everyone. When people understand and support the organisation's vision, they're likely to do their work well. Once your team members understand how their role aligns with the larger company goals and supports the organisation in achieving its vision, they may realise their purpose better. This can motivate them to be more productive and driven to fulfil that purpose.

Related: What Are Intrinsic Rewards and Why Are They Important?

9. Encourage friendly competition

A working environment with some competition can be productive. Promoting healthy competition between your team members may help improve focus, motivation and productivity. Encourage them to participate in special tasks, solve challenges and take more responsibility. This can also lead to better team spirit and staff engagement. Be clear that the goal is a friendly competition to build camaraderie in the team. Remind them of the importance of team cohesion, individual support and a positive attitude for overall success.

Related: Tips on How to Be Motivated at Work

10. Get to know your team members better

To motivate your team members better, getting to know who they are as individuals can be helpful. Interact with them to understand their interests, goals and motivations. You can schedule regular feedback meetings that are more relaxed and informal. You could ask them what they like working on and what frustrates them. This can also be an opportunity to mentor them on career development, clarify expectations and help them set goals.

During one-on-one sessions, listen actively to understand their views and ideas. They're the best people for their job and may give insights that you and your team could benefit from. Once you have an idea about what interests and motivates them, discuss how you could invest in their future professional development. In addition, always respect your colleagues' non-work time and personal commitments outside work.

11. Provide leadership opportunities

In addition to periodic promotions, offer your team members leadership opportunities to motivate them. Let employees organise special events, activities and off-site training to give them such opportunities. Similarly, you can encourage junior and mid-level employees to lead team meetings and client presentations. Many organisations also appoint high-performing employees as the chairperson or the chief executive officer for a day. Create an official mentorship programme where senior leaders and managers guide younger professionals on developing leadership skills and managing large teams.

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12. Help employees with career development

When employees see a clear career path for themselves in an organisation, they're more likely to be motivated to achieve it and stay for a longer duration. Train managers and team leaders to help employees plan their careers, improve their skills and provide employees with the right development opportunities. You can help employees in gaining new skills by offering to support certifications or higher education. Similarly, you can conduct training sessions, workshops or encourage employees to participate in industry networking events. When a company invests in nurturing growth and equipping its employees with the right skills, it usually starts attracting top talent.

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